Friday, March 9, 2007
When in Rome...
Of all the places in the world, Rome was the one place I knew I had to visit before I died. It probably has something to do with my love of art history, or the fact that I just wanted to be able to say, "when in Rome..., " but whatever the reason, I have been eager to get there for many years. Last week this dream came true.
As many of you know, I moved to Slovakia just a couple weeks ago. And, conveniently enough, I managed to arrive just 5 days before Josiah Venture's annual Women's Conference, which was... you guessed it... held in ROME this year!! (the above photo is a good example of my excitement about this) The timing of my arrival in Slovakia could not have been better. Not only would I be able to see Rome, but I had a chance to meet and spend time with 30 of JV's women, all who serve in Eastern Europe.
Our time there was fabulous, as I'm sure you can imagine, but the most memorable moment of the whole trip was the time we spent at the Colosseum. Andrea, one of the JV ladies from Czech, had encouraged us to join her there for a time of communion. She felt this would be a way to honor all the Christian martyrs who had lost their lives in that very stadium.
Now all of you reading this right now are probably thinking how special that experience could be, but I have to admit I was not thinking anything like that. I was actually trying to think of a way to avoid it all together. That's right. I'm a Christian, and a missionary, and I was trying to avoid having communion. However, I was not alone in this. My dear teammate Paige was with me (sorry to have outted you, Paige, but I can't be the only one getting judged right now). She and I could not imagine finding a place inside of the Colosseum that would allow for some privacy; a place that would not make us look like some sort of crazies. But, in the end, we stopped searching for the nearest exit and joined or JV sisters for communion.
After everyone arrived, Andrea shared a few words and then asked us to pair up and spread out around the Colosseum. Once paired up, we read aloud to each other Romans 4 and Hebrews 11. Immediately the Lord humbled me. Hebrews 11:36-40 says:
"Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated--of whom the world was not worthy--wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect."
Here I was in a place where Christians were mutilated for their faith, and all I was thinking about was how we were going to look weird.
After reading those verses, Andrea came over to Paige and I and served us communion. It was such a beautiful and powerful moment. Paige and I were totally in awe of how God so gently showed us how wrong we had been. Thank goodness for His grace.
This is a picture of all the JV ladies outside the Colosseum, post-communion.
This is a photo of all the women on my team in SK. From left to right it is Amanda, ME, Kim, Paige, and Amy. We were attempting to do something of a cheesy sorority picture, but it looks like only me, Paige, and Amy got that memo.